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About Steve

Steve is a former small-town daily newspaper reporter, public education communications director, and elementary/secondary teacher. He has over 30 years writing experience in a variety of media. He earned a bachelor's degree in English from Cameron University in Oklahoma and a master's in elementary education from the University of Michigan. He currently lives in Nashville, TN, with his partner Frank (a university research librarian), their beagle, Fergus (10), their beagle/basset/corgi Bosco (10), their basset/treeing coonhound Goose (3), and their basset hounds, Roux (7) and Sascha (10). Their beagles Bayley (12), Fred (5) and Feargal (8) have sadly crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

Steve fell in love with airliners at the age of five during a fateful encounter with a brand-new Pan Am 747. He is the author of «Deadly Turbulence: The Air Safety Lessons of Braniff Flight 250 and Other Airliners, 1959-1966, his first aviation book», and is currently planning, researching, and writing his second.

Past and Current Projects

Deadly Turbulence was published 13-Mar-2014 by McFarland Publishing of Jefferson, NC.

The book takes a detailed look at five accidents/near disasters, especially the 1966 destruction of Braniff International Airways Flight 250 in Nebraska. Nearly two years of inquiry helped advance the understanding of jet operations in severe weather and saw the first use of Cockpit Voice Recorder technology in an aviation accident investigation. In addition, a University of Chicago professor, Dr. Tetsuya "Ted" Fujita, conducted a more intensive investigation of the weather system which downed Flight 250. Over time, Dr. Fujita's already extensive knowledge of thunderstorms and tornadoes led to his creation of the Fujita Scale of Tornado Intensity, the F-scale that we hear about so frequently during storm season.

The five flights the book is most concerned with are:

Airline Flight Aircraft Registration Date Location Fatalities
Pan American World Airways 115 Boeing 707-121 N712PA February 3, 1959 Over the North Atlantic 0/127
Northwest Airlines 705 Boeing 720-051B N724US February 12, 1963 Everglades, Florida 43/43
United Airlines 764 Boeing 720-022B N/A July 12, 1963 Over O'Neill, Nebraska 0/63
Eastern Air Lines 304 Douglas DC-8-21 N8607 February 25, 1964 Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana 58/58
Braniff International Airlines 250 BAC 1-11-203AE N1553 August 6, 1966 Near Falls City, Nebraska 42/42

Read more «here».

The focus of the second book is a logical progression of the first; the effect of microburst/windshear weather phenomena on commercial airline travel, seen through the lens of some famous and not-so-famous crashes between 1943 and 1996. These were:

Airline Flight Aircraft Date Route Location Fatalities Survivors
American Airlines 63 Douglas DC-3-178 21-Jul-43 KSDF-KBNA En route near Hopkinsville, KY 20 2
Eastern Airlines 346 Douglas DC-9-31 18-May-72 KMIA-KFLL-KCLE KFLL, along 9L 0 3
Ozark Airlines 809 Fairchild Hiller FH-2276 23-Jul-73 En Route KMWA-KSTL Near KSTL 30L 20 2
Eastern Airlines 66 Boeing 727-225 24-Jun-75 KMSY-KJFK Short of KJFK 22L 113 11
Continental Airlines 426 Boeing 727-224 9-Aug-75 KDEN-KICT End Runway 35L 0 134
Pan American World Airways 759 Boeing 727-235 9-Jul-82 KMSY-KLAS KMSY, Departure end 9 153 16
Delta Air Lines Lockheed L-1011-381-1 191 2-Aug-85 KFLL-KDFW KDFW, Approach end of 17L 134 29
USAir 1016 McDonnell Douglas DC-9-31 2-Jul-94 KCAE-KCLT KCLT, Departed 18L 20 37

The third book is not set in stone yet, but research is currently centered on infamous US midair collisions in the last century. These may include:

Date Airline Flight Collided with Flight (if app.) Location Fatalities Survivors
21-Apr-29 Maddux Airlines N/A USAAF N/A San Diego, CA 6 0
23-Oct-42 American 28 USAAF N/A Chino Canyon, CA 12 2
12-Jul-45 Eastern 45 USAAF N/A Florence, SC 3 20
1-Nov-49 Eastern 537 Lockheed N/A Washington, DC 55 1
25-Apr-51 Cubana 493 US Navy N/A Key West, FL 43 0
28-Jun-52 American 910 Temco Swift N/A Dallas, TX 2 60
12-Jan-55 TWA N/A Private N/A Boone County, KY 15 0
30-Jun-56 United 718 TWA 2 Grand Canyon, AZ 128 0
21-Apr-58 United 736 USAF N/A Las Vegas, NV 49 0
20-May-58 Capital 300 ANG N/A Brunswick, MD 13 1
16-Dec-60 United 826 TWA 266 NYC, NY 134 0
4-Dec-65 TWA 42 Eastern 853 Carmel, NY 4 108
9-Mar-67 TWA 553 Private N/A Urbana, OH 26 0
19-Jul-67 Piedmont 22 Lanseair, Inc. N/A Hendersonville, NC 82 0
4-Aug-68 North Central 261 Private N/A Wind Lake, WI 3 12
9-Sep-69 Allegheny 853 Private N/A Fairland, IN 82 0
6-Jun-71 Hughes Airwest 706 USMC N/A San Gabriel Mtns, CA 50 1
29-Jun-72 North Central 290 Air Wisconsin 671 Lake Winnebago, WI 13 0
9-Jan-75 Golden West 261 Private N/A Whittier, CA 14 0
25-Sep-78 PSA 182 Private N/A San Diego, CA 144 0
18-Jun-86 Grand Canyon 6 Private Heli N/A Grand Canyon, AZ 25 0
31-Aug-86 Aeromexico 498 Private N/A Cerritos, CA 82 0
15-Jan-87 SkyWest 1834 Private N/A Kearns, UT 10 0
9-Apr-90 ASA 2254 Private N/A Gadsden, AL 2 7

These disasters represent 997 fatalities and 212 survivors, making them a significant subject worth exploring.